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130TH OHIO GENERAL ASSEMBLY
House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources
Hearings:  Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. Location: Capitol Building Room 116
Chairman:  Rep. Dave Hall (R-HD 70)                          Ranking Member: Rep. Jack Cera (D-96)
Aide:  Mike McGuire                                                     Aide:  Pam Wilson
Phone:  614 466 2994                                                  Phone:  614 466 3735
Republican Members                                                   Democratic Members
Andy Thompson, VC                                                     Nick Barborok
Terry Boose                                                                 Kathleen Clyde
Jim Buchy                                                                     Mike Curtin
Tony Burkley                                                                 Sean O’Brien
Rex Damschroder                                                         John Patterson
Christina Hagan                                                             Chris Redfern
Brian Hill                                                                        Fred Strahorn
Al Landis                                                                        Roland Winburn
Matt Lynch
Dorothy Pelanda
Wes Retherford
Margaret Ann Ruhl
Gary Scherer

House Committee on Finance and Appropriations
Hearings:  Tuesdays, 1:30 p.m.; Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9:00 a.m.; Capitol Building Room 313
Chairman:  Rep. Ron Amsutuz (R-HD 1)                 Ranking Member:  Rep Vernon Sykes (D-HD 34)
Aide:  Grace Snider, Jason Whalen                        Aide:  John Meacham, Cynthia Ellis
Phone:  614 466-1474                                             Phone:  614 466 3100
Republican Members                                             Democratic Members
Jeff McClain, VC                                                      Nicki Antonio                    
Richard Adams                                                        Michael Ashford
Arlene Anielski                                                        John Patrick Carney
Peter Beck                                                              Kathleen Clyde
Tim Derickson                                                         Denise Driehaus
Mike Dovilla                                                            Mike Foley
Mike Duffey                                                            Matt Lundy
Anne Gonzales                                                       Debbie Phillips
Cheryl Grossman                                                    Dan Ramos
Dave Hall                                                                Alicia Reese       
Bill Hayes
Ron Maag
Ross McGregor
Cliff Rosenberger
Barbara Sears
Ryan Smith
Robert Sprague
Peter Stautberg
Gerald Stebelton

Senate Committee on Agriculture
Hearings:  Second & Fourth Tuesdays of the month; 10:00 a.m., Senate South Hearing Room
Chairman:  Senator Cliff Hite (R-SD 1)                    Ranking Member:  Senator Lou Gentile (D-SD 30)
Aide:  Christopher Collins                                       Aide:  Maria Haberman
Phone:  614 466 8150                                             Phone:  614 466 6508
Republicans                                                           Democrats
Troy Balderson, VC                                                Capri Cafaro      
David Burke                                                           Shirley Smith
Frank LaRose
Gayle Manning
Bob Peterson

Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Hearings:  First & Third Wednesdays of the month, 10:00 a.m., Senate South Hearing Room
Chairman:  Senator Troy Balderson (R-SD 20)      Ranking Member: Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-SD33)
Aide:  Danielle Vandergriff                                     Aide:  Ryan Monell
Phone:  614 466 8076                                           Phone:  614 466 8285
Republicans                                                          Democrats
Kris Jordan, VC                                                     Capri Cafaro
John Eklund                                                          Lou Gentile
Cliff Hite
Tom Patton
Bob Peterson
Tim Schaffer
Joe Uecker

Senate Committee on Finance
Hearings:  First & Third Tuesdays of the month, 2:30 p.m., Senate Finance Hearing Room
Chairman:  Senator Scott Oelslager (R-SD29)      Ranking Member: Senator Tom Sawyer (D-SD28)
Aide:  Gina Wilt                                                     Aide:  Kelsey Bergfeld
Phone:  614 466 0626                                          Phone:  614 466 7041
Republicans                                                         Democrats
Bill Coley, VC                                                        Shirley Smith
David Burke                                                         Charleta Tavares
Randy Gardner                                                     Joe Schiavoni
Jim Hughes
Shannon Jones
Frank LaRose
Tom Patton
Bob Peterson

Conservation Land Property Tax Treatment

The purpose of this proposed legislation is to create an incentive for landowners to donate conservation easements on their land or to donate fee ownership of their land. Two incentives are provided for donations of conservation easements. First, one-half of the taxable value of the land subject to the easement is exempt from real property taxation. Second, the recoupment charges otherwise payable upon conversion from CAUV to the 50% of taxable value are waived.

The incentive for a donation of the fee ownership is an exemption from recoupment charges upon conversion of the land from CAUV status to exemption from real property tax, provided the land is owned by a 501(c)3 charitable organization, the land use is restricted by a recorded instrument to conservation purposes described in Section 5301.67(A), Revised Code, and the land had previously been taxed as CAUV property. This incentive would apply to most land trusts which receive a donation of CAUV property if the CAUV use is discontinued and in its place conservation restrictions are placed on the land.

Currently, the impact of conservation easements on a property’s value is often not considered in fixing taxable value because many times, county auditors may not know when a conservation easement has been granted on a particular property. Secondly, the ambiguous requirement that auditors “take into account the diminution in value as the result of the existence of any conservation easement” has led to a large degree of subjectivity and therefore, disparity in property valuation amongst different auditors. Establishing an objective standard such as those under the CAUV and forestry programs would require auditors to tax easement property consistently and at a lower taxable value than non-easement property.

Landowners who become ineligible to participate in CAUV, most often because the land falls out of significant agricultural use, are subject to a property tax increase and required to pay recoupment of previous years’ taxes. However, landowners who place conservation easements on their property and become ineligible for CAUV should be exempt from recoupment because the presence of the conservation easement maintains the diminished value of the property. While it is anticipated that most conservation easement donors would continue to be eligible for CAUV, this provision in the proposed legislation would allow farmers to pursue possible preservation of their land as a wildlife preserve rather than for a specific agricultural use without penalizing them by requiring them to pay recoupment of taxes.

The incentive for a fee donation provides comparable tax treatment for the donation of a conservation easement and the donation of fee ownership. In both cases the conservation values of the land are protected and the public interest is thereby served.